Tag Archives: Easter

Tendilla, Spain

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After searching for a place to sleep in Penalver we have now gone to Tendilla to find a place to sleep…and eat. We pull into the town square and what lies before us….a hostel…. with rooms!


next to and I mean next to (within 20 feet) of an ancient church

the ancient walls had crumbled and fallen…

We came into a lively restaurant where the bartender was also the innkeep….he scurried up two flights of stairs (you begin to see a reoccurring theme in this trip) past beautiful antiques…oh my….hopes of a grand room danced in my head.

He flung open the door to proudly display a CLOSET containing two of the smallest beds ever seen — “we’ll take it”, we proclaimed.
the thoughts of the cold rain of the bus stop too fresh in our thoughts.

Off we went, down the stairs to eat the most famous tapas of Spain — various local sausages, pig belly fat cooked to a tender and tasty state, potatoes,onions, a tiny empanada filled with tomato and creme and of course a plate of local olives.
Walked about this quaint village and found the ruins of castles nestled among the hillside. Went into the ancient church and sneaked a peek at the huge golden altar through an open window.

Back to our hostel for a beer and a very nice young man from Bulgaria gave us a complimentary plate of steamed blood cakes…………oh the delights of strangers!!! We ate it — what could one do. Now in the room in our tiny beds of spring coils for a much needed nap.

6:00 P.M.
Next to our hostel the monks have just played Beethoven’s “ode to Joy” on the bells in their ancient tower signaling the time for evening prayers….what beauty and tranquility one can find nestled in these hills! Worth suffering through the steamed blood cakes!
Easter Sunday
We awoke to the church bells ringing….all is very quiet at the Inn. I am not surprised, the revelry lasted until the wee hours of the morning. At one point it sounded as if every child from the village must be on the ground floor shouting and singing (the next morning we learned that this in deed was the fact!)
Today I must investigate an observation that I have made over the last two days…..the lack of animals of any kind. I have yet to see one dog or cat, a flock of sheep or even the lone milk cow. I am curious as to why (but an too afraid to ask anyone)…..of course all sorts of twisted reasons have gone through my mind.
Well we finished bathing in a tub that once belonged to Barbie — accomplishing this by standing and spraying ourselves with a hose on which was attached a shower head of some sort.

I suppose we are clean. I was tempted to merely sit on the bidet and take it from there…it did indeed seem a simpler approach.
We have ventured out into our small village.

I am constantly vigilant for any animal and have developed a theory….whereever one goes the markets are hung with the wonderful legs of pigs that have been cured into ham, I envision the pigs hanging from slings in various barns — LEGGLESS!!!!……awaiting the day the rest of their bodies will be made into bacon!
We have just ordered breakfast — I await my next culinary experience. The food was wonderful!!! and even saw a cat outside!!! We had wonderful crusty bread with eggs and Iberian sausage…..all dripping with the marvelous olive oil. I was so hungry that there will be no photo. The camera remained tucked away. We sit now and wait for Easter Mass to begin The bar is filling with locals awaiting the same. They promise a great procession circling the church three times to ensure luck for the year to come.


We attended the mass. Upon our arrival inside the church, we were so enthralled in viewing the beautiful altar (I, myslef….planning how to run a plank from our room window into the window of the church so that I might be able to reallocate some of the marvelous artifacts to our wine cellar back home)….anyways, so taken by the surroundings, that we did not realize that all the participants, other than the priest, were women! We began the procession out the door of the church and through the streets of the village….

……and suddenly behold — the men were in a SEPARATE procession moving towards us!! Our statue was covered in black lace, of course (!!!), the virgin in mourning — the men carried the statue of Christ….

When the two parties met our statue was uncovered and given a beautiful white veil of lace and a crown of gold (that would look very nice in the wine cellar, I might add).

I chuckled all throughout the rest of the service, remembering the strange looks the women were giving us during the procession — now they became all too clear!

After Easter services, we joined all the villagers at our hostel for beer and tapas. The Jefa (boss lady), mother of the innkeeper (Raul), makes the most wonderful olives, which we ordered. The generous Bulgarian waiter (who previously gave us steamed blood cakes) brought us a plate of fried fish and shrimp — of course they were fried whole.

I decided not to partake in this, having observed a barrel of these same fish outside the front door that the local fishermen purchase as bait and feared that as these fish passed on, they were moved from the water barrel to the frying pan. I am sure my fears were not reality; however, the idea of crunching on the heads and innards of these creatures of the sea did not appeal to my desired for culinary exploration. The remembrances of the steamed blood cakes lingering in my mind and on my palate!
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A miserable night. We both had nightmares and woke each other up. The beds felt as if each spring was attempting to burrow into our very bones, a revenge, no doubt, for having a fat American reside on its delicate surface!
We did enjoy a wonderful movie about Juan Carlos and Sophia and their son Philip falling in love with a woman (divorced!!! OMG!!!) and therefore considered unfit to one day be Queen of Spain.
Went off to a local store and purchased yogurt for breakfast and within moments were in a car bound for PENALVER!!!….FINALLY!

Guadalajara, Spain

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We took the train from Madrid to Guadalajara — WOW less than five euros round trip!  The taxi from the airport in Madrid to the hotel was 50 euros!  The train was quite charming, a young man played the guitar and sang very happy songs.

Madrid Train Station

Guadalajara Train Station

We see “La Estacion del Gourmet” across the street so, of course, we run directly there…….for some wine
……..it was a long trip!

August just learned that tomorrow is Easter (BFD) and there will be no buses at all! Also, the cabs are not allowed to take us to the train station. Perhaps we shall sleep here in the street tonite. We found a bus back to the train station and went to visit our friend Antonio who was having a coffee with his friend, Valentin, who upon hearing of our trials and tribulations, is now going to drive us to Penalver!!!! Here we now sit in his very fine car on our way to our destination with his mute uncle, who is rapidly telling wonderful stories with his hands. Evidently there is a tradition in Penalver to find the fattest politico and weigh them and upon doing so present them with their weight in honey! ….charming…perhaps!

……..the owner, Antonio Francisco Gallego Moraza had the wait staff come right over to assist us….

Our night was spent in a hostel in a very, very, very, very, very…….okay you get the idea, smallllllllllllll bedroom with very, very, okay…okay…small beds – yes TWO, with August’s wet…from washing!….people please, stay with me….underwear hanging outside our window.

In all our frugal wisdom (stop laughing), we decided to take the city bus to the central terminal to investigate passage to Penalver (yes…..there is also a town by the name, August’s family was very important and influential in Spain) only to find the bus station CLOSED!!!!! Here we sit in the cold and rain awaiting a bus BACK to the train station to reclaim our luggage at the hotel of many winding stair cases, and find some means of transportation to Penalver. (I was thinking:”If you are so important — where is the royal carriage!!!) Perhaps we will find ourselves in the backof some hay wagon!…at least we would be warm! Still we wait for our bus — now for over an hour!

I went out in the middle of the night to have a Spanish cigarette. The room was on the second floor, up a tiny staircase — yes with our luggage in tow. Imagine it all people!
The next morning we returned to Antonio to seek assistance (no not for our headaches from the wine!)
We did have a most wonderful breakfast of of skirt steak, eggs, ham, mancheco cheese and all was bathed in the most wonderful, fragrant olive oil. Served with the most wonderful, rich coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice all served by our new friends. They presented us the most wonderful pots of local honey in handcrafted pots……OMG….to get this kind of attention back home….one would die!

What vistas we see along our way! Beautiful small villages, with ancient buildings surrounded by rolling hills covered with olive trees and hither and there….ruins of ancient castles! What history these hills hold. We are coming upon the turnoff for Penalver………….looks like our fortunes will hold…..we will see what shall be. Upon our arrival at our most sought after destination, the road has become a one lane rough country road. But, here we come upon the Village of Penalver!

How much can we suffer! There are no rooms available in Penalver! We went into the town square and were immediately surrounded by all the townsfolk — all who attempted to assist us. Calling the cousins and the bells of the village were sounded……….but to no avail. No rooms wer to be had. Off we went with Valentin to his car, cour faces long and sad. We scurried off to the village Tendialla…………will the madness never end…..